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Mother Teresa 5: Darkness

posted by xscot mcknight

In 1953, M. Teresa wrote to the Archbishop these words: “Please pray specially for me that I may not spoil His work and that Our Lord may show Himself — for there is such terrible darkness within me, as if everything was dead. I has been like this more or less from the time I started ‘the work’” (Come Be My Light).
Now the big one: How do you understand Mother Teresa’s darkness?
Here are some of the many, many statements about darkness she herself made, statements that contradict other statements of faith and love for God/Jesus during the same period. She lived a paradox of unflinching faith and steely obedience in the face of (perceived) emotional distance from God. (Part of this emotional distance has to be explained by the glory of her own emotional union with Jesus prior to her calling to the poorest of the poor. She had been to the mountaintop and nothing seemed to count after that.)
“How long will Our Lord stay away?” (158)
“for within me everything is icy cold” (163)
“The more I want Him the less I am wanted” (164)
“He is destroying everything in me” (169)
“no faith — no love — no zeal” (169)
“I understand a little the tortures of hell — without God” (172)
“I did not know that love could make one suffer so much — this is of longing — of pain human but caused by the divine” (180)
“The child of your love — and now become as the most hated one” (186).
“If there be no God — there can be no soul. — If there is no soul then Jesus — You also are not true” (193).
“I no longer pray” (193).
“I am perfectly happy to be like this to the end of life” (198).
“I have come to love the darkness” (208).
Today I want to sort out how her spiritual advisors and how she saw her darkness.
First, what was her darkness? An emotional disconnect between her soul and God — involving her relationship to Jesus and to the Eucharist and to others. As I said on Monday, I think some of this is connected to her piety — with themes like self-denial, sacrifice and suffering shaping her consciousness — and even to emotional burnout, but this does not explain it adequately.
Second, her response was three-fold: blind faith in God regardless of what she felt and “smiles” that did two things — expressed visibly her faith and showed to others that suffering can be met with the loving smile of Jesus — and near total silence with all but three advisors.
Brian Kolodiejchuk, the one who has organized these letters and private writings into a whole for the Vatican (?), routinely “interprets” her darkness.
“Interior darkness was Mother Teresa’s priviledged way of entering into the mystery of the Cross of Christ” (156).
It was her participation in the (suffering) thirst of Jesus for souls.
It was a “veritable martyrdom of desire” (180).
Jesus “was living in and through her without her being able to savor the sweetness of His presence” (212).
An identification with Christ and with the suffering of others.
Archbishop Perier:
Suggested at least once she was fatigued (158).
Her experience is the dark night of the soul of the mystics (164)
Purification and protection against pride (167)
Fr. Joseph Neuner was the most helpful of all of her advisors:
“It was simply the dark night of which all masters of spiritual life know — though I never found it so deeply, and for so many years as in her” (214). [This is why I think it is unwise, unless prefaced and followed by lots of nuance, of calling M. Teresa's darkness the dark night of the soul. It went on for too long.]
Here’s the statement of his that changed her life: “The sure sign of God’s hidden presence in this darkness is the thirst for God, the craving for at least a ray of His light” (214).
And, “Thus the only response to this trial is the total surrender to God and the acceptance of the darkness in union with Jesus” (214).
Thus, her darkness was participation in the suffering death of Jesus. It was union with Jesus’ pain for others. It was this statement that led her to say she had come to love the darkness.
Mother Teresa:
“When outside — in the work — or meeting people — there is a presence — of somebody living very close — in very me” (211).
M. Teresa did not think her suffering was the dark night of the soul. “She had the intuition and now a confirmation from her spiritual director, that, though the sufferings were similar, their purpose was different” (218). She was not being purged; she was in union with the sufferings of Christ.
It took one step for her and others to see in her darkness the experience of Paul in Colossians: “in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.”
One of her famous prayers and mantras: “Jesus I accept whatever you give — and I give whatever you take” (225).
“If I ever become a saint — I will surely be one of ‘darkness.’ I will continually be absent from heaven — to light the light of those in darkness on earth” (230).



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Ted Gossard

posted September 13, 2007 at 5:37 am


I really appreciate this post, Scot. I can see that in the puny lives of those like myself, how her life in Jesus can help, and help us grow. It’s not about us or our comfort, but willingness to let death be at work in us, so that life might be at work in others, in Jesus.



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Bob

posted September 13, 2007 at 6:26 am


She was not being purged; she was in union with the sufferings of Christ.
This is the most profound statement in this whole post and I’d guess will be for the whole series. How often we embrace the joy of heaven and shrink back from the suffering of the flesh. Both are included in what it means to be conformed to His image.
To love both of these is to live the Christian life in its deepest form.



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Nathanael

posted September 13, 2007 at 7:45 am


Her quoted lines sound a whole lot like the Psalms to me.
Scot, I’m curious what you meant when you said, “This is why I think it is unwise, unless prefaced and followed by lots of nuance, of calling M. Teresa’s darkness the dark night of the soul. It went on for too long.”
I’ve read others experiences with said “dark night of the soul” and experienced minor ones myself. This is the first time I’ve read someone put a time table on it. Could you clarify what you mean?
Shalom



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Mike Mercer

posted September 13, 2007 at 8:11 am


It certainly seems that M.T.’s interior sufferings were in some way connected with her work, for she had such vivid communion before the work began, and then almost immediately with the onset of the work, the darkness fell. Apparently, it lasted, but for brief intervals, the rest of her life as she served the poor. Ted, I like the reference you made to Paul (2Cor 5.12–”so death works in us, but life in you”), and in another place Scot has wisely pointed out Col 1.24–”in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body.” Paul longed to have fellowship with Christ in his sufferings (Phil 3.10), and as his resume he listed what he had suffered for Christ (2Cor 11). God told him, as he told Teresa beforehand, “how much he must suffer for my sake” (Acts 9:16). Though in my flesh I shudder at the thought that this is the path to great usefulness for God, it seems to me to be the logical conclusion, and it befits those who follow the Christ of the Cross.



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Scot McKnight

posted September 13, 2007 at 8:34 am


Nathanael,
All I mean by this is what one of her advisors said — the normal dark night of the soul does not last for sixty years. I don’t know we can put a limit on it, but if we talk of the dark night of the soul for M. Teresa, we must also say it is a singular kind that she experienced.



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Nathanael

posted September 13, 2007 at 8:51 am


that works ;)



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JACK

posted September 13, 2007 at 9:49 am


Scot,
Man, you read fast! But your thoughts resonate with what I have read so far, namely, that the intimacy of certain defining moments of union with Christ colored her perceptions of everything that followed. In some ways, it’s actually quite attractive and understandable to me. Don’t we all hope that given such a gift from the Lord that we would recognize what it is to the depths and long for it so deeply?
I also agree that M. Teresa’s experience of darkness is quite unique and unexpected. However, I don’t think the duration question per se makes this not what St. John of the Cross describes as the dark night. Ironically enough, Pope John Paul II did a dissertation on St. John of the Cross. From bits I’ve heard reported on his thoughts (for example here, at http://insightscoop.typepad.com/2004/2007/09/pope-john-paul-.html), he suggests that there might be a natural progression in identifying the darkness with the mystery of human suffering in all of life and not just a phase of a spiritual journey.
I think Fr. Nuener’s advice is profound. Recognizing that one’s need or lack, one’s longing, is in fact a gift (in that it points to His presence and can in fact be helpful in discerning His presence) and not something to merely be eliminated is very provocative. Would more head his words. I was told something similar once when it was pointed out that if you truly recognize the fact that you did not create yourself, then in the very core of your “I” there is the beginning of communion.



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Mykl Krause

posted September 13, 2007 at 9:54 am


Thanks for the post, Scot. It makes me wonder what relationship with Jesus really feels like and how we can evaluate it – even in ourselves. What should we be experiencing? Jesus said his sheep hear his voice but are we promised more?
Scripture talks of evaluation by fruit. By that measure M.T. was certainly “in Christ” – not just because of her impact on the poor but her impact on the rest of the world. It brings to mind some of the recent discussion of orthodoxy vs. orthopraxy and James’ comments: “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? … Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.” (2:14, 18) Is fruitfulness or effectiveness enough in our spiritual lives?
It makes me wonder “What are my expectations in my spiritual life?” and “To whom am I comparing myself?”
I also wonder how I would have responded to M. Theresa had I been in Archbishop Perier’s position.



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John W Frye

posted September 13, 2007 at 10:46 am


Without denying our own call to participate in Christ’s sufferings, I think it wise to point out that not all were/are called to be apostles or Mother Teresas. The level of grace to persevere in obedient suffering and the corresponding experience of icy darkness are not necessarily the call for all Jesus followers. Paul himself repeated this to his young churches—”death was at work in him, but life was at work in them.”



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Bob

posted September 13, 2007 at 12:26 pm


John (in #8),
Wasn’t Paul being sarcastic with the young church in question when he said those words?
Besides, though the manifestations of each believer’s walk will be different, I don’t think there are different requirements/responsibilities of the call. Just IMO.



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Brian

posted September 13, 2007 at 12:59 pm


Mother Teresa stands in stark contrast to the commonness with which some evangelicals speak of entering the presence of God. The difficulty of saying what we mean by such language recalls for me Francis Schaeffer talking about what he called “connotation words.” By that he meant words that have emotional impact without having solid content behind them. His concerns about such language seem applicable here. It is hard to pin down what we mean.



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Diane

posted September 13, 2007 at 1:01 pm


“The sure sign of God’s hidden presence in this darkness is the thirst for God, the craving for at least a ray of His light” (214). Fabulous.



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Jeremy Myers

posted September 13, 2007 at 1:43 pm


Is it possible she simply wasn’t regenerate?
Don’t misunderstand. I am not condemning her to hell, but I think we need to be very careful about saying a person was regenerate simply because they lived a life in deep service to Jesus which none of us will ever approach.
Nor am I saying that all those who are regenerate will feel the constant presence of Jesus and intimacy with Him. I know I don’t.
But what are the infallible outward or inner evidences of regeneration? I don’t know of any.
Now certainly, if Mother Theresa believed in Jesus for everlasting life, she is now in heaven. But if she did not, then maybe her experience was similar to the deep and dark depressions that Martin Luther experienced as he went about his duties prior to understanding that justification is by faith alone in Christ alone.



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Mariam

posted September 13, 2007 at 5:59 pm


Or perhaps the explanation is simpler and more secular. Mother Teresa’s dark night began approximately the same time as she began ministering to the suffering of some of God’s most unfortunate. Mother Teresa’s work was sisyphusian – a never-ending task in which she could never do enough. From my own experience in seeing and dealing with the suffering of others, it is traumatic and depressing. It isn’t long before a sort of spiritual exhaustion sets in and you consciously or sub-consciously stop yourself from “feeling” so much. This is so you won’t go crazy. At some point you realize that it is hard to “feel” anything any more, either good or bad. If you are a believer, that perception that God allows so much suffering, that He is silent to your prayers for healing, tests your faith, no matter how strong it is. You may distance yourself from your spiritual self and from God so that you are not disappointed. Another somewhat bizarre consequence of of trauma and depression is that, after a while you seek darkness out. In the absense of joy, darkness does become your only faithful companion, as the jailor finally becomes to the captive.
The fact that Mother Teresa was able to turn this loneliness into something spiritual – the thought that she was allowed the privilege to share in Christ’s suffering – is some evidence of God still at work giving her strength.



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Dianne P

posted September 13, 2007 at 7:10 pm


As a retired ER nurse, I resonate w/ Mariam’s comments. I remember some absolutely horrific shifts. When I came home, I could just sit and stare for a long time, feeling only an indescribable emptiness. There were no thoughts that I could articulate, no prayers on my lips, no tears. Just an emptiness that seemed unconnected to time and space. I remember trying to cry, trying to *feel* it in order to move past it, but on those nights, it just didn’t happen. Is this what MT felt all those years? I sure don’t know, but it was a very dark and lonely place to be.
I don’t think this was related to burn-out, as I never experienced that. But I do think that daring to look straight on, square in the face of suffering of the type that MT saw, can lead to a time of *spiritual exhaustion*. For her, sadly, a very long time. That she was able to continue to work and minister and smile and yearn for God speaks loudly to me of God’s faithfulness in the midst of the darkness.



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Mariam

posted September 13, 2007 at 7:37 pm


13. Jeremy: “I think we need to be very careful about saying a person was regenerate simply because they lived a life in deep service to Jesus which none of us will ever approach”
What exactly are you trying to say? That loving Jesus, praying and worshipping faithfully, dedicating your whole life and being to serving Christ and living a more fully Christlike life than almost anyone on the planet isn’t quite enough?



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Ted M. Gossard

posted September 13, 2007 at 9:16 pm


I find some of the comments here helpful to understanding more the grace of God in Jesus that I believe was at work in Mother Teresa’s life and in the life of that mission.
We Protestant Christians will be enriched if we can look look for the common life that binds us all in Jesus together, in her life. We need to look for that, to appreciate and bring this into our picture of Spirit-uality in the life in Jesus in this world.



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jason

posted September 13, 2007 at 9:30 pm


i find mariam (#14) and diane’s (#15) incredibly insightful and practical. as a pastor i often go through breif bouts of depression when dealing with the wreckage of some people’s lives; frankly, those situations don’t compare to the kind of human suffering m.t. faced every single day.
i’m reminded of a chapter in spurgeon’s work, “lectures for my students” titled, “the minister’s fainting fits.” in it, he essentially reveals a deep and horrible depression that often comes upon ministers as a matter of course simply due to a combination of human frailty, consistently unrealized high spiritual expectations, a sedentarty lifestyle, and the constant exposure to human misery.
i’m pretty sure his remedy was smoking cigars. : )



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Scott M

posted September 13, 2007 at 9:38 pm


Jeremy, as someone with a decidedly mixed spiritual bag through much of my life, I can only say that if Mother Theresa was “unregenerate,” whatever the heck you mean by that, then Christianity needs a whole heck of a lot more “unregenerate” Christians like her.



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Jeremy Myers

posted September 13, 2007 at 9:46 pm


Mariam,
You asked, What exactly are you trying to say? That loving Jesus, praying and worshipping faithfully, dedicating your whole life and being to serving Christ and living a more fully Christlike life than almost anyone on the planet isn’t quite enough?
Yes, that is what I am saying. Nobody can ever be good enough to merit their way to heaven, or good enough to prove that they have been saved, or good enough to keep themselves saved.
This is why Jesus had to come and die. He did everything that needs to be done for us, so that He can give everlasting life to those who believe in Him for it (John 3:16; 5:24; 6:47).
Clearly, a life of good works and faithfulness to God is important for many reasons, but one of those reasons is not that we need the good works to get into heaven. That is a free gift from God’s grace.



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Jeremy Myers

posted September 13, 2007 at 9:50 pm


Jason,
You are absolutely right about Spurgeon. He went through serious bouts of depression. Many great Christian leaders do. I don’t think that depression is a sign that someone is unregenerate.
I simply stated what I did about Mother Theresa, becuase in my reading about her, I cannot find a single instance anywhere where she talks about how she knows she has eternal life becuase of her faith and confidence in Jesus Christ. If she was trying to work her way to heaven (and I’m not saying she was!), but always felt like she was falling short, even with all of her righteous works, this could be a great cause for spiritual depression.



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Jeremy Myers

posted September 13, 2007 at 9:54 pm


Scott,
I know a few Mormons and JW’s who do a lot of good works that are nearly on par with that of Mother Theresa. Are you saying that becuase they serve God and live in obedience to Christ in what they do, that they are going to heaven?
Heck, I know a few atheists who do just as much good as Mother Theresa. Are they going to heaven?



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Michael Mercer

posted September 13, 2007 at 10:06 pm


I’ve never read a statement from M.T. that she was trusting in her good works to earn salvation. Her works were the outworking of her faith and devotion to Christ, at least by her own report.



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CPM

posted September 13, 2007 at 10:12 pm


“Heck, I know a few atheists who do just as much good as Mother Theresa. Are they going to heaven?”
Would heaven be spoiled if all these people (Mormons, JW’s, athiests etc.) were there too? If God chose to freely bestow His grace on folks you find undeserving (after all, if they haven’t BELIEVED, they haven’t done what they needed to do in order to GET grace), isn’t that His business?



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Jeremy Myers

posted September 13, 2007 at 10:29 pm


Michael,
You are probably right. Though I have read some, I am certainly not the Mother Theresa expert.
I too appreciate Miriam’s (#14), Diane’s (#15), and Jason’s (#18) comments above. There are many, many, possible reasons for Mother Theresa’s feelings. Maybe she had a chemical imbalance. Maybe this was a special way God used to get her to become more like Christ.
Truthfully, I think probably many of us are more depressed than we admit. None of us probably feel the presence of Christ as much as we would desire. Sometimes the causes are mental, or emotional, or physical…but sometimes they are spiritual. The trick is figuring out which is which, and if it’s hard to do for ourselves, it is impossible to do for someone like Mother Theresa, especially now.
So my earlier post (#13) was not intended to offend anyone. I was just raising one of the possibilities which must be considered.



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Jeremy Myers

posted September 13, 2007 at 10:42 pm


CPM,
Just so I understand, are you saying that everybody gets into heaven? If not, what keeps somebody out?



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CPM

posted September 13, 2007 at 10:47 pm


Actually, I never made a statement. I asked a question. Did you answer it?



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CPM

posted September 13, 2007 at 10:59 pm


Jeremy,
More to the point, I found your original comment to be highly insulting. A woman, who devoted her entire life to serving others, has been laid bare before us. She has been made vulnerable to public scrutiny, and cannot come to her own defense. Seeking to categorize her as unregenerate smacks of stone throwing, IMO.



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Jeremy Myers

posted September 13, 2007 at 11:02 pm


CPM,
I believe it is God’s business who gets into heaven, and not mine at all. I also believe that since our eternal destiny is so important to Him, He has decided to tell us in Scripture how we too can know where we are going when we die.
One of the clearest places God did this is in the Gospel of John, in the recorded words of Jesus Himself. He says over and over in that book that those who believe in Him have everlasting life, and those who do not will remain in condemnation and face judgment (John 3:16; 5:24; 6:47, etc).
I am not deciding who gets in to heaven. Thankfully, God is. And also, thankfully, He has told us what standards He will use: He only gives everlasting life to those who believe in Jesus for it.
So am I to understand by your question that you disagree with the standard that Jesus has given us? Does everybody get into heaven regardless of what they believe? If not, what is the requirement to get into heaven, and how do you know?



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Mike H

posted September 13, 2007 at 11:05 pm


A Jesuit Priest, who wrote an article in the New York Times about M.T.’s darkness, was on Comedy Centrals the Cobert Report. It will air again at 12:30 am central.



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CPM

posted September 13, 2007 at 11:12 pm


Jeremy,
The quest of my life is not summed up in where I am going when I die. Rather, who am I living for and why. I’m living for the Shepherd who will leave ninety-nine sheep to find the one that is lost. If the entire world was lost, I expect He found every last one. Thats about all I’m going to say on this matter, as the topic is seeking to understand MT’s darkness, not who’s in and who’s out.



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Jeremy Myers

posted September 13, 2007 at 11:24 pm


CPM,
Yes, you are right. I don’t want this to degenerate either. Again, I am sorry for the way my original comment came out. I should have delayed in posting it, and thought more carefully about what I was typing.
All I was trying to say is that there are many reasons for depression and feeling distant from God. It maybe chemical. Or it may be psychological. It may be a lack of sleep and fatigue. Of course, within the range of possibilities is that there was a spiritual cause.
And even within the spiritual, there are a whole realm of possibilities ranging from spiritual attack from the enemy to God wanting Mother Theresa to learn to be more like Jesus Christ through depression and feeling spiritually distant from Him. Somewhere in there is the possibility, however remote, that she wasn’t saved.
But if we think it is an unlikely possibility, we need to ask ourselves “Why is it unlikely?” If the answer is “Well, because she is such a good person,” I’m not sure that is a sound Scriptural argument. A good argument, however, is what Michael Mercer posted in comment 24. If she believed in Jesus, then according to Jesus, she is saved. And therefore, we can safely assume that this was not the cause for her spiritual depression, and we can move on to look at other possible causes.



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Mariam

posted September 14, 2007 at 2:36 am


Sorry Jeremy. I’m still not clear what you’re getting at. When you say “if she believed in Jesus” do you mean that she might have not thought that Jesus existed or she thought he was just just a myth? I’m still not clear what you mean by “believe in Jesus”. It seems that from what she wrote she worshipped Jesus and devoted her whole life to Him and His teachings, at great personal sacrifice Are you suggesting that this might have all been faked and that she never really believed in Jesus at all? I suppose we can’t ever know what someone truly has in their heads but this is the first time I’ve seen this suggested. And I suppose if in your deepest heart you actually think there is no God and Jesus is just a story, then you might feel sort of empty if you have devoted your whole life to something you truly feel doesn’t exist. I’m not sure what your evidence for this is, though.
As to “working her way into heaven” I think her good works came out of her faith and devotion, not in order to earn her way into heaven. As is quoted above:
If I ever become a saint — I will surely be one of ‘darkness.’ I will continually be absent from heaven — to light the light of those in darkness on earth,/quote>. It seems that even after death she was willing to forego her “eternal reward” in order to continue to minister to those in need.
But if we think it is an unlikely possibility, we need to ask ourselves “Why is it unlikely?” If the answer is “Well, because she is such a good person,” I’m not sure that is a sound Scriptural argument. .
I think there are actual sound scriptural arguments, eg. the Good Samaritan and the rich man who is told by Jesus that if he really wants to get into heaven he should sell everything he has and give it to the poor and follow Jesus, but also Matt 5:16, Matt 7:19,20 Matt 12:48-50, Luke 6:43-44, James 2:14-16, Rev 20:12 and most tellingly what does Jesus say about who will be sheep and who will be goats? Matt 25:22-46. If we believe this then I don’t think we should worry about MT’s salvation – we should worry about our own.
The faith vs works debate has been going on for at least 2000 years precisely because there are scriptural arguments on both sides. Just as faith in God must lead to good works, good works can lead to faith in God.



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Mike Morrell

posted September 14, 2007 at 9:02 am


It also seems, maybe more appropriately than the “dark night of the soul,” that she was experiencing God-as-absence, what is known in the contemplative tradition as the via negativa, or the apophatic way. Pseudo-Dionysius was probably one of the earliest articulators of this spiritual path, speaking of the “blinding ray of divine darkness,” followed through the Medieval period with the anonymous English author of The Cloud of Unknowing. One of the most contemporary manifestations of this spirituality could be seen as Pete Rollins, who writes about (not)knowing God. It could be a stretch, but maybe not–even Wikipedia seems to agree for the moment. And I swear that I did not add that line. :)



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Mykl Krause

posted September 14, 2007 at 12:29 pm


Although darkness is certainly used in Scripture as a metaphor for discouragement, evil and sin it is also used sometimes as a descriptor of the dwelling place of God. Without doing any exegesis nor desiring to get mired in interpretation I simply offer the following passages.
Exodus 20: 21 The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was
Deuteronomy 5: 22 These are the commandments the LORD proclaimed in a loud voice to your whole assembly there on the mountain from out of the fire, the cloud and the deep darkness; and he added nothing more. Then he wrote them on two stone tablets and gave them to me. 23 When you heard the voice out of the darkness, while the mountain was ablaze with fire, all the leading men of your tribes and your elders came to me.
Psalm 97:1The LORD reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice. 2 Clouds and thick darkness surround him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
2Samuel22:12 He made darkness his canopy around him—the dark rain clouds of the sky.
God can certainly be present in darkness.



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Jeremy Myers

posted September 14, 2007 at 1:15 pm


Mariam,
You wrote, If we believe this then I don’t think we should worry about MT’s salvation – we should worry about our own.
This is exactly right! If the only way I can know that I am going to heaven is to be as good as Mother Theresa, I am doomed for sure.
So I am faced with only two other options: either (1) lower the standard to something more attainable for me, or (2) recognize that no amount of good works will ever be enough to prove that a person is genuinely saved.



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Scott M

posted September 14, 2007 at 1:28 pm


Jeremy, why in the world are you worried about “going to heaven” in the first place? That’s a topic which scripture hardly addresses at all — the interim period between our deaths and the resurrection of the dead.



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Elaine

posted September 14, 2007 at 5:04 pm


And sort of riffing off what Scott M says…the few times Jesus does talk about going to heaven or having eternal life, let’s see…what does he say about it?
He says you must be born again of water and the spirit
He says you must eat his flesh and drink his blodd
He says you must feed the hungry, clothe naked and visit the imprisoned.
Hey, sounds like Mother Teresa is in good shape to me….



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Jeremy Myers

posted September 14, 2007 at 8:54 pm


Scott,
Actually, I’m not worried about it. I have full confidence in Christ that He has done everything that needs to be done to get me there. I do not trust in my own good works one iota to get, prove, or keep eternal life.
If you mean “Why are you asking about heaven instead of having eternal life?” the answer of course, is that only those who have eternal life will enter heaven, and then after that, at the resurrection, enter into the new heaven and new earth with glorified bodies. If a person dies and they don’t find themselves in heaven, they aren’t later, at the resurrection, going to find that they get to go into the eternal kingdom.
Truthfully, I normally talk about receiving eternal life instead of entering into heaven, and should have just stuck with that. The reason I chose to speak about “heaven” is because that is the terminology Mother Theresa used in the last quote which you posted, and then also the terminology which Bob used in comment number 2, and then also it was the terminology Mariam used in her question I was responding to.



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posted 12:15:30pm Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Theology After Darwin 1 (RJS)
One of the more important and more difficult pieces of the puzzle as we feel our way forward at the interface of science and faith is the theological implications of discoveries in modern science. A comment on my post Evolution in the Key of D: Deity or Deism noted: ...this reminds me of why I get a

posted 6:01:52am Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Almost Christian 4
Who does well when it comes to passing on the faith to the youth? Studies show two groups do really well: conservative Protestants and Mormons; two groups that don't do well are mainline Protestants and Roman Catholics. Kenda Dean's new book is called Almost Christian: What the Faith of Ou

posted 12:01:53am Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Let's Get Neanderthal!
The Cave Man Diet, or Paleo Diet, is getting attention. (Nothing is said about Culver's at all.) The big omission, I have to admit, is that those folks were hunters -- using spears or smacking some rabbit upside the conk or grabbing a fish or two with their hands ... but that's what makes this diet

posted 2:05:48pm Aug. 30, 2010 | read full post »




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